Ms. Meniscus:

I read about what to look for in a car seat from last week’s column and I loved it. I’m not buying a new car right now, but when I do I will take this column with me. Here’s my questions about seats. Everybody I talk with says I should sit in a straight-back chair in order to reduce stress and pain in my lower back, but doing this makes it worse. What’s your advice? Should I keep doing it hoping that eventually I will find the relief everyone is talking about, or should I stop and start slouching again?

Pain In The Back

Dear Back:

First, unless your doctor is telling you to sit in a straight-back chair and endure the pain, please stop. I’m not a doctor, but I know that pain means stop doing what you are doing. Our problem usually is that whatever we do hurts, so if you can stop the hurt by kicking that chair to the curb, do it. I’m not sure how you define slouching, but often being comfortable is not the same as slouching, and your goal should be to be comfortable. Ask your doctor for a referral to a physical therapist who can show you some exercises that should help reduce the pain you’re feeling. Try to work these exercises into your daily routine, even though I know this can be difficult. There is a lot of help for lower back pain, so don’t rush into surgery. Start with your doc and physical therapy and if this doesn’t work for you, look at chiropractors, acupuncture, stretching, yoga, a new mattress, and massage.

Let me know how you are doing.


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